A look at the interior of the Adrian, Michigan YMCA, circa 1905. The equipment selection was not numerous, but the results obtained from training with a running track, some flying rings, a climbing rope and a set of parallel bars will likely beat the pants off what can be done at most modern gyms with far more to choose from.
Who the heck is Irving K. Pond you may ask? Well, pull up a chair and let me tell you: He was the man who scored the first touchdown EVER in the history of the University of the Michigan football program, something which he accomplished in May of 1879. Later on, he also became a famous architect, designing, among other buildings, the Michigan Union and the Michigan League (where I got married) ~ so I have several reason to shake the man’s hand if I ever happen to meet him in the afterlife. Beyond his architectural pursuits, Pond was a lifelong devotee of physical training and, as shown here, could still perform a back flip and jump over his cane at 77 years of age ~ pretty impressive.
The ‘Gittleson Dumbbell’ is so named because it sat on my college strength coach Mike Gittleson’s desk for all the years that I was at Michigan, and likely at least a decade before that. (Mike was the University of Michigan’s football strength coach for 30 years and produced more All-Americans and NFL Draft picks than any other college strength coach in history.)
As you can see this unforgiving chunk of iron weighs 120 pounds. I’ve bent pressed it, snatched it but not yet strictly overhead pressed it ~ something I am on track to do soon…
In keeping with the saying Mens sana in corpore sano (A healthy mind in a healthy body) the University of Michigan built some of the finest gymnasia the world had ever seen in the late nineteenth century. The Waterman Gymnasium (pictured right and named for Joshua W. Waterman, a notable Detroit attorney who donated most of the funds) was completed in 1894. The Barbour Gymnasium for women (on left, named for Regent Levi L. Barbour), followed in 1896. The physical director of these facilities was George A. May and the above picture was how both grand buildings looked from the diag, circa 1927. The chem building now sits on the site where these gyms were once located.